I went to say hello to the cops yesterday. They weren’t happy to see me.
I hung them out to dry in a column a couple weeks ago, accusing one of spreading misinformation at a council meeting and another of stonewalling on public information. In the middle of the conversation I wondered why I would voluntarily walk into a confrontation with two big guys with guns. Guys who were mad at me. It was just a thought. I knew they were grown ups who would act like professionals. I had to go. I might be working with these guys for years, and I will need their help and cooperation from time to time.
It turned out okay. The officer I said was spreading misinformation thought he was falsely accused. He seemed sincerely hurt and offended and angry. Maybe he really was out of the loop, so much so that a month after an incident that was the talk of the town, he said there were no significant incidents. Or maybe he sincerely didn’t consider it significant, or maybe he really felt like he couldn’t talk about it because there was no police report at the time. But we have an Isle police report dated several weeks earlier.
The other officer seemed more angry at how he was portrayed in our news stories. I sympathize with him, but I don’t agree that the story was slanted to make him look bad. Some of the facts may cast him in a slightly negative light, but I don’t think most readers would come away with much of an impression one way or the other, except that he was a cop trying to do his job in complicated circumstances. It looked like he wrote his report based on the testimony of the suspect. We just said that was the case. We didn’t say what to make of it.
I told them I support the police and I admire them as individuals for doing a job most of us, myself included, wouldn’t have the guts to do. All I want is information that the public — not just me, but anyone who walks in off the street — has a right to. And I still don’t think they provided information we had a right to. We both have jobs to do, and sometimes that will put us in conflict, but I hope it doesn’t get personal. They felt like it did when I wrote that column, and I guess I can’t blame them for that. I just hope we can get past it. I like them. They seem like good guys. But that’s not what it’s about.
A couple people have called to tell me they liked my last column, about the goose that died on the river. That’s nice to hear. I don’t get a lot of unsolicited praise. A few others have complimented us on the way we’ve handled this difficult story about the “Isle Days fiasco,” as one council member called it.